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Thread: NYT-As U.S. Gains in Iraq, Rebels Go to Afghanistan

  1. #1

    NYT-As U.S. Gains in Iraq, Rebels Go to Afghanistan

    [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/15/world/asia/15afghanistan.html?_r=3&hp=&oref=login&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin[/url]

    [QUOTE]By JOHN F. BURNS

    KABUL, Afghanistan — American military successes in Iraq have prompted growing numbers of well-trained “foreign fighters” to join the insurgency in Afghanistan instead, the Afghan defense minister said on Tuesday.

    The minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, said at a news conference that the increased flow of insurgents from outside Afghanistan had contributed to the heightened intensity of the fighting here this year, which he described as the “worst” since the American-led forces toppled the Taliban government in 2001. American commanders have said that overall violence here has increased by 30 percent in the past year and have called for more troops.

    The defense minister said that “the success of coalition forces in Iraq” had combined with developments in countries neighboring Afghanistan to cause “a major increase in the number of foreign fighters” coming to Afghanistan.

    “There is no doubt that they are better equipped than before,” he said. “They are well trained, more sophisticated, and their coordination is much better.”

    His reference to neighboring countries appeared to mean Pakistan, where Islamic militants with bases in tribal areas along the border have intensified their operations, both inside Pakistan and in support of the insurgency in Afghanistan.

    American commanders have said that most of the foreign fighters operating in Afghanistan are Pakistanis, Arabs, or from Muslim countries and communities in Central Asia and the Caucasus, including Chechens. But a great majority of the insurgents here are Afghans.

    American commanders have noted that some militant Islamic Web sites have been encouraging fighters to go to Afghanistan rather than Iraq, where rebel operations have been sharply reduced in the past 18 months. Recent postings to some sites have celebrated the rising tempo of the insurgency here, and referred to the appeals for more soldiers and growing concerns among NATO nations that contribute troops.

    About 33,000 American troops are in Afghanistan, with more than 23,000 from about 40 other NATO countries.

    The Afghan minister spoke on a day when insurgents struck across wide areas of Afghanistan using roadside bombs and, in Kandahar, committed a drive-by assassination.

    The NATO command said three coalition soldiers were killed Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb. It did not give the victims’ nationalities, but most of the 24,000 coalition troops in the eastern region are Americans.

    The Kandahar assassination occurred when two gunmen on a motorbike attacked the car carrying the chief of the province’s social affairs department to work. The official, Dost Muhammad Arghestani, was killed instantly, with his driver, a police spokesman said. A NATO statement of condolence said that Mr. Arghestani’s duties had included helping disabled people.

    The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack. “We killed him because he was working with the government, and we will carry out more targeted killings of senior officials and people working with foreign organizations,” the Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said in a telephone call to local news agencies. Last month, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a similar attack, involving gunmen on a motorcycle, that killed the most senior woman among Kandahar’s police officers.

    Another roadside bomb in Deh Rawood, in Oruzgan Province, in the southwest, killed nine Afghan civilians on Tuesday, including three children, said the provincial police chief, Juma Gul Himat.

    He blamed the Taliban and said they had planted the explosive on a road regularly used by NATO and Afghan troops. [/QUOTE]

    The problem with Afghanistan is that it does not have the same history of centralized rule as Iraq, thus making the success of the surge and the Anbar Awakening movement less relevant. It's all open mountainous terrain laced with tunnel networks at the border and is a politically fragmented "nation" (it's about as much of a nation as Somalia). The central government in Kabul is, for all intents and purposes, as weak as the Daoud regime during the Soviet war there. I'd imagine that we would need more troops there, a more concerted reconstruction and army recruitment effort, and that we may need to nudge the Afghan government into resolving this opium trade problem either through legalization, government job creation, or private job creation.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    [QUOTE=XingDaorong;2805742]Your thoughts?[/QUOTE]

    Containment.

    The British Empire and the Soviet Union both couldn't ferret out their enemies in the wastes of Afganistan.

    Better to work to civilize the more open areas, and contain AQ in the mountains, than to waste lives picking off 1's and 2's.

    No doubt, if one were going to hole-up anywhere in the world, the mountains between Afganistan and Pakistan sure is a good spot.

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=XingDaorong;2805742][url]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/15/world/asia/15afghanistan.html?_r=3&hp=&oref=login&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin[/url]



    [B]The problem with Afghanistan is that it does not have the same history of centralized rule as Iraq[/B], thus making the success of the surge and the Anbar Awakening movement less relevant. It's all open mountainous terrain laced with tunnel networks at the border and is a politically fragmented "nation" (it's about as much of a nation as Somalia). The central government in Kabul is, for all intents and purposes, as weak as the Daoud regime during the Soviet war there. I'd imagine that we would need more troops there, a more concerted reconstruction and army recruitment effort, and that we may need to nudge the Afghan government into resolving this opium trade problem either through legalization, government job creation, or private job creation.

    Your thoughts?[/QUOTE]


    Uh, prior to British colonialism , Iraq wasnt even a country. Iraq, hardly has a system of centralized rule unless you consider the Hashemite Monarchy and subsequent dictatorships of Abdul Karim Qassim and Saddam Hussein as being a united centralized govt. Iraq has always been a collection of independently functioning and sometimes warrig tribes that have only been brought together by brute force of authoritarian regimes.

    Dont believe it? Just wait and see how the ruling Shia treat the "Sunni Awakening" that we bribed to fight with us.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2805869]
    Dont believe it? Just wait and see how the ruling Shia treat the "Sunni Awakening" that we bribed to fight with us.[/QUOTE]

    Props to kenny: he hasn't given up on the "Iraq is lost" party line like the NY Slimes has. You go, kenny! :cool:

  5. #5
    [QUOTE=quantum;2805879]Props to kenny: he hasn't given up on the "Iraq is lost" party line like the NY Slimes has. You go, kenny! :cool:[/QUOTE]

    Props to Quantum, he hasnt given up on an obviously lost cause and still doesnt mind seeing American troops killed and permanently injured while we spend billions so long as he can say, "we havent lost yet". Bravo!!

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2805890]Props to Quantum, he hasnt given up on an obviously lost cause and still doesnt mind seeing American troops killed and permanently injured while we spend billions so long as he can say, "we havent lost yet". Bravo!![/QUOTE]

    Well, I *AM* the devil! :D

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=Warfish;2805749]Containment.

    The British Empire and the Soviet Union both couldn't ferret out their enemies in the wastes of Afganistan.

    Better to work to civilize the more open areas, and contain AQ in the mountains, than to waste lives picking off 1's and 2's.

    No doubt, if one were going to hole-up anywhere in the world, the mountains between Afganistan and Pakistan sure is a good spot.[/QUOTE]

    Makes sense, as Kabul and Jallalabad are as close to "civilized" as you will get in Afghanistan. AQ and the Taliban won't win that war because the public here believes it is a just one.

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2805869]Uh, prior to British colonialism , Iraq wasnt even a country. Iraq, hardly has a system of centralized rule unless you consider the Hashemite Monarchy and subsequent dictatorships of Abdul Karim Qassim and Saddam Hussein as being a united centralized govt. Iraq has always been a collection of independently functioning and sometimes warrig tribes that have only been brought together by brute force of authoritarian regimes.

    Dont believe it? Just wait and see how the ruling Shia treat the "Sunni Awakening" that we bribed to fight with us.[/QUOTE]

    Right...centralized rule. As in the Macedonian Empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Chaldean Empire, the Persian Empire, the Abbasid, Ummayyad, and Timurid Caliphates, as in the British Crown, and all the subsequent dictators. Iraq has a history of written law and authoritarian control, the closest Afghanistan ever came to that was under the Iron Sheikh in the late 1800s. As for the Shi'a government, let's hold out proclamations until these provincial elections are over and when the process of Awakening integration into the ISF begins.

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2805890]Props to Quantum, he hasnt given up on an obviously lost cause and still doesnt mind seeing American troops killed and permanently injured while we spend billions so long as he can say, "we havent lost yet". Bravo!![/QUOTE]

    Say we followed Obama's plab in 2006, that nation would be embroiled in an all out civil war which would have spilled over into neighboring nations. Iran would politically control an entire swath of Iraq and the Sunni east would have become a safe haven for Islamic militants in the same way Pakistan's FATA is now. But what do we know? We're just dumb neo-con war profiteer soldier killers who have stood in the way of a "precipitous withdrawal" which would have made us safer.

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=XingDaorong;2806633]Right...centralized rule. As in the Macedonian Empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Chaldean Empire, the Persian Empire, the Abbasid, Ummayyad, and Timurid Caliphates, as in the British Crown, and all the subsequent dictators. Iraq has a history of written law and authoritarian control, the closest Afghanistan ever came to that was under the Iron Sheikh in the late 1800s. As for the Shi'a government, let's hold out proclamations until these provincial elections are over and when the process of Awakening integration into the ISF begins.[/QUOTE]

    Fine, then your initial premise is also wrong. Afghanistan did have a centralized govt from the late 1970s to early 90s. The Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan ruled Afghanistan during these years. And in your loose definition one could also call the Taliban a centralized govt.

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2807039]Fine, then your initial premise is also wrong. Afghanistan did have a centralized govt from the late 1970s to early 90s. The Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan ruled Afghanistan during these years. And in your loose definition one could also call the Taliban a centralized govt.[/QUOTE]

    The Daoud regime and the occupying Soviet Army exerted no control outside of the major cities and non-Pashto areas. Iraq's dictators forcibly controlled most of, if not all of, the country during their reigns through violence and intimidation. The Caliphates made Baghdad their capital until the Mongol invasion in 1258, the British too controlled the country and it's resources until the outbreak of World War II. Afghanistan is a nation that had not previously been conquered in over 800 years, and even then the Mongols and Safavids could only control small sections of it.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=XingDaorong;2806642]Say we followed Obama's plab in 2006, that nation would be embroiled in an all out civil war which would have spilled over into neighboring nations. Iran would politically control an entire swath of Iraq and the Sunni east would have become a safe haven for Islamic militants in the same way Pakistan's FATA is now. But what do we know? We're just dumb neo-con war profiteer soldier killers who have stood in the way of a "precipitous withdrawal" which would have made us safer.[/QUOTE]

    Whats to say Iraq will still be embroiled in an all out civil war despite our presence. Its not like the Shia govt has embraced the Sunnis. Look at how Maliki's govt has treated the Sunni Awakening. Hes only willing to incorporate no more than 20% into the Iraqi Army/Police force and has already arrested many of their leaders. A great deal of the Sunni (bribed) Awakening leadership has fled to Syria , fearing retribution at the hands of Maliki. And what about the Kurds, seems they are not too happy with Malikis govt. How long can they be kept pacified in theis Shia Sectarian Govt??

    As for Iran's influence on the govt...you cant be serious? They already have a great deal of power in the Iraqi govt and affairs. Want proof? Just look at the hard stance Maliki took against the USA with regards to the Security Agreement he just signed. Do you think he could have taken such a hard stand without the backing of Tehran?? Funny, but he seems to have gotten the USA to agree on just about everything he wanted, including the withdrawl of [U]all [/U]US forces by the latest, 2011. Another vindication for obamas plan.

    As for foreign islamic terrorist pouring into Iraq, i wouldnt worry too much, The Shia and Iran can and will take care of them.

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=XingDaorong;2807053]The Daoud regime and the occupying Soviet Army exerted no control outside of the major cities and non-Pashto areas. Iraq's dictators forcibly controlled most of, if not all of, the country during their reigns through violence and intimidation. The Caliphates made Baghdad their capital until the Mongol invasion in 1258, the British too controlled the country and it's resources until the outbreak of World War II. Afghanistan is a nation that had not previously been conquered in over 800 years, and even then the Mongols and Safavids could only control small sections of it.[/QUOTE]

    Thats not true, Iraqs dictators never had much control over the Kurdish occupied north.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2807056]Whats to say Iraq will still be embroiled in an all out civil war despite our presence. Its not like the Shia govt has embraced the Sunnis. Look at how Maliki's govt has treated the Sunni Awakening. Hes only willing to incorporate no more than 20% into the Iraqi Army/Police force and has already arrested many of their leaders. A great deal of the Sunni (bribed) Awakening leadership has fled to Syria , fearing retribution at the hands of Maliki. And what about the Kurds, seems they are not too happy with Malikis govt. How long can they be kept pacified in theis Shia Sectarian Govt??

    As for Iran's influence on the govt...you cant be serious? They already have a great deal of power in the Iraqi govt and affairs. Want proof? Just look at the hard stance Maliki took against the USA with regards to the Security Agreement he just signed. Do you think he could have taken such a hard stand without the backing of Tehran?? Funny, but he seems to have gotten the USA to agree on just about everything he wanted, including the withdrawl of [U]all [/U]US forces by the latest, 2011. Another vindication for obamas plan.

    As for foreign islamic terrorist pouring into Iraq, i wouldnt worry too much, The Shia and Iran can and will take care of them.[/QUOTE]

    Iran doesn't have half the control they had in 2006. Want evidence of that? How about when Maliki sent Iraqi troops into Basra to retake it from the Iranian armed and funded Mahdi Army, an operation the British couldn't handle and an operation in which hundreds of JAM fighters were killed?

    As for the integration of Awakening troops this process will move along as planned for the sole reason that it is vital to the government's well being. Maliki is making these 20% proclamations now because it is election season and he doesn't want to be seen as a promoter of Sunni militias among his Shi'a constituents. Don't get me wrong there are deep wounds in Iraq that will take decades to heal, but there is no way that Maliki and the Iraqi public will allow their country to unravel as it so nearly did two years ago. What is needed is an expansion of the size of the Army and Police forces, the further construction of barracks, and the repair of infrastructure so more can be integrated into the armed forces.

  15. #15
    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2807058]Thats not true, Iraqs dictators never had much control over the Kurdish occupied north.[/QUOTE]

    Sure they did, the Iraqi Army attacked and seized Kurdistan in 1974. Before that Iraq and Kurdistan were ruled by the British and before that the Ottomans. My point being that Iraq has always had to answer to an imperial or military authority throughout its history and has long been a nation of sedentary people as opposed to Afghanistan. Afghanistan has had no ruler that could enforce any laws or edicts, even the Shiek Amin (the Iron Sheikh) could only implement some of his laws through brutal force. Afghanistan is more or less like Somalia, where tribal factions follow their own laws and do not answer to any central government. The borders in Afghanistan are ignored by Pashto tribes who have crossed them freely for centuries, the illegal poppy plant is grown in the South even when the government is arresting people for doing so, and Afghan soldiers routinely leave their posts (against their officer's orders) to return to whatever area their tribe is from with their paycheck. Iraqi soldiers have deserted in the past but overall they are a much more efficient, organized, and orderly fighting force and always have been.

  16. #16
    [QUOTE=XingDaorong;2807144]Iran doesn't have half the control they had in 2006. Want evidence of that? How about when Maliki sent Iraqi troops into Basra to retake it from the Iranian armed and funded Mahdi Army, an operation the British couldn't handle and an operation in which hundreds of JAM fighters were killed?

    [B]You mean after Maliki had gone to Tehran to ask for their intervention?? Oh right. This happened after Tehran told Sadr to back down. Once he lost this political leverage Sadr was pretty much neutered. And from what i recall, about 1000 Iraqi soldiers bailed out before the invasion and in order for them to defeat the Madhi Army (which was abandoned by Iran in favor of the more pwerful Maliki-funny how Iran is playing with all Shia sides) they needed US air support.[/B]

    As for the integration of Awakening troops this process will move along as planned for the sole reason that it is vital to the government's well being. Maliki is making these 20% proclamations now because it is election season and he doesn't want to be seen as a promoter of Sunni militias among his Shi'a constituents. Don't get me wrong there are deep wounds in Iraq that will take decades to heal, but there is no way that Maliki and the Iraqi public will allow their country to unravel as it so nearly did two years ago. What is needed is an expansion of the size of the Army and Police forces, the further construction of barracks, and the repair of infrastructure so more can be integrated into the armed forces.

    [B]Maliki doesnt need the Awakening troops integrated into his army. In fact he simply doesnt trust them. He feels they are traitors and if it wasnt for our insisting, he would integrate 0% into the Army and arrest/kill as many as he can. Maliki, with the backing of Iran, is well on the way to stabilizing a Shia stronghold on the country. His only threat comes from within the Shia community, from other Shia groups fighting for power (ie Sadr). Which ever group wins the upcoming election will also win Tehran's support. Make no mistake about it, Iran has woven itself very tightly into Iraq's political future.[/B]
    [/QUOTE].

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2805749]Containment.

    The British Empire and the Soviet Union both couldn't ferret out their enemies in the wastes of Afganistan.

    Better to work to civilize the more open areas, and contain AQ in the mountains, than to waste lives picking off 1's and 2's.

    No doubt, if one were going to hole-up anywhere in the world, the mountains between Afganistan and Pakistan sure is a good spot.[/QUOTE]

    I agree. Contain and encroach where possible. You can essentially engage in a Cold War with them as they remain isolated for years and years, not developing.

  18. #18
    [QUOTE]You mean after Maliki had gone to Tehran to ask for their intervention?? Oh right. This happened after Tehran told Sadr to back down. Once he lost this political leverage Sadr was pretty much neutered. And from what i recall, about 1000 Iraqi soldiers bailed out before the invasion and in order for them to defeat the Madhi Army (which was abandoned by Iran in favor of the more pwerful Maliki-funny how Iran is playing with all Shia sides) they needed US air support.[/QUOTE]

    To start the desertions were of policemen (451) and soldiers (500) who were part of the Basra regiments the British built. You know? The British policy of hiring militiamen as soldiers and policemen to "keep the peace"? They were working for the JAM long before this battle took place. Second, Iran only called for a ceasefire after the Iraqi Army handed Sadr his ass on a silver platter with six days of relentless bombardment and ground assaults. The U.S provided air support, because the Iraqi Military does not have an operational air force yet, but the ISF troops did the heavy lifting and took back Basra. No matter how people tried to spin it, how they tried to call the battle a loss after one day, the fact remains that it was a critical victory for the ISF and Maliki in ending Shi'a militia control.

    [I]Maliki doesnt need the Awakening troops integrated into his army. In fact he simply doesnt trust them. He feels they are traitors and if it wasnt for our insisting, he would integrate 0% into the Army and arrest/kill as many as he can. Maliki, with the backing of Iran, is well on the way to stabilizing a Shia stronghold on the country. His only threat comes from within the Shia community, from other Shia groups fighting for power (ie Sadr). Which ever group wins the upcoming election will also win Tehran's support. Make no mistake about it, Iran has woven itself very tightly into Iraq's political future.[/I]

    Great, but he's not going to arrest and kill them because his government will fall if he does. If 30% of the Iraqi population is marginalized and attacked in violation of Maliki's amnesty agreement then he will be dead within a year, there is no reason to believe that Maliki will act simply out of religious zeal with no regard for the safety of himself or the stability of his government.

  19. #19
    [QUOTE=XingDaorong;2807176] Second, Iran only called for a ceasefire after the Iraqi Army handed Sadr his ass on a silver platter with six days of relentless bombardment and ground assaults.[/QUOTE]

    This is simply not true. Maliki went to Iran FIRST to ask for Tehrans intervention in the matter. Maliki knew that Sadr had (and still has) a strong political hold on the south. He did not want to get into a fire fight with Sadr. It was only after Tehran showed that they would side with Maliki that Maliki could maneuver. You need to get your facts straight

  20. #20
    [QUOTE=XingDaorong;2807176]

    Great, but he's not going to arrest and kill them because his government will fall if he does. If 30% of the Iraqi population is marginalized and attacked in violation of Maliki's amnesty agreement then he will be dead within a year, there is no reason to believe that Maliki will act simply out of religious zeal with no regard for the safety of himself or the stability of his government.[/QUOTE]

    You are wrong. As long as Maliki has the backing of Iran and the Iraqi Army continues to be made up primarily of the Iranian backed Shia terrorist group the Badr Army, Maliki doesnt have much to worry about regarding the Sunni Awakening. They will be crushed. And when you consider that Malikis Shia enemies hate the Sunni Awkening just as much as Maliki, Maliki has even less to worry about. Its not religious zeal Maliki is acting on, its a deep rooted hatred based on hundreds of years of history that we ignored when invading Iraq. Its also about survival. Eliminate your enemies. The Shia have done a very good job of that.

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